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I’m continually in awe of authors (some whom I regard as friends) who manage to keep churning out new material every few months. Besides the work ethic, the idea factory they have in their mind, I’m staggered how they manage to write a good story in their first draft. They must right? That or they don’t sleep or eat or do anything else.
It’s my dream to one-day reach that point. Be so good at my process and handle of the craft that I can deliver 80% of the story first time every time.
Practice makes perfect
Yep, we’ve all heard it. It’s true. And those authors that I’m referring to above have done the work. Yes they have.
But that doesn’t make it any easier for them. Many authors tell me that their latest manuscript is the hardest and through the wonders of social media we get to see their struggles to meet publisher deadlines.
Green with Envy
Comparison can be so debilitating if we allow ourselves to check our progress against those we admire. It can stop us writing, steal our zeal or freeze our writing mojo as we linger at the keyboard.
Acknowledge and encourage those we admire which will both give them an added boost but also nullify the green monster that sits on your shoulder.
God loves sharing in everything we do. Hey, He’s with us all the time so why not bring Him into all that you experience. It’s what I love about writing. As I tell people I’ve found writing to be a lot harder than any of the Corporate jobs I’ve had over the last thirty years. There’s something so special creating together with our Lord even if writing that first draft is like watching grass grow in the desert. I’m continually amazed how often an oasis arrives out of nowhere when all of a sudden a scene suddenly gels or your story takes a fabulous turn. Heck, there are times when I jump for joy at a “new” word that appears on the screen, one that I typically wouldn’t use.
“My #1 rule is write like no one is ever going to read it. Why? Because it gives you permission to be as audacious as you want.”
Tosca Lee wrote that. Tosca’s one of my favourites for sharing her writing process, boots and all. She’s a night owl and can write till the wee hours of the morning. I know this because often she pops up on FB asking whose awake and because I’m on the other side of the world it has to be some crazy hour when most people are sound asleep.
“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”
William Faulkner said that. Get it down. I love that. Allow the Holy Spirit to weave His magic as you write.
Allow yourself to write a bad first draft. And hey, it’s really not that bad. It’s just the expectations you’ve placed on yourself.
Just think you now have something on the page that you can now play with the Lord and make some real magic together.
Fearful of that blank page staring at you? Join the club. All writers are. Trust in the Lord. He’s there with you, not just cheering you on but helping you with every word, every scene, character and story line.
Get it down!
Have fun in your playground with the Lord.
Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Angelguard was recognised with the 2014 Selah Award for Speculative Fiction. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter